BELLES’ youngsters need to believe in themselves a bit more, according to sidelined star Sue Smith.
England legend Smith - out for the season with a cruciate knee ligament injury - told the Free Press this week she hopes to play a hands-on role with coaching once she ditches her crutches.
The experienced forward saw plenty of positives in Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at home to Bristol Academy in the FAWSL Continental Cup and is keen to take the club’s young guns under her wing.
Belles welcome Super League rivals Chelsea to the Keepmoat Stadium today (2pm) in the quarter-finals of the FA Women’s Cup.
Smith said: “I thought the girls were unlucky against Bristol and that we did enough for a point.
“Aine O’Gorman was unlucky with the effort that hit the post and I think you could see during the game we have a lot of good young players coming through here.
“Alyssa [Legonia] looks like a tidy player in the number ten role and we’ve got the likes of Mille [Bright] up front, with Julie-Ann Russell and Aine on the other side.
“We’ve got a lot of players with potential here, I just think they need to believe in themselves a bit more.
“But a lot of them are still young and still learning.
“As soon as I can walk properly I’d love to get involved in the coaching side of things or whatever capacity John [Buckley] wants.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to pass on a few bits of advice throughout the season.
“I’m a terrible watcher and I just want to stay involved,” she added.
“I’m absolutely gutted to be missing the season and I knew as soon as it happened it was something serious.
“I wanted to do well for the people of Doncaster, I’d just got back into the England team and there was the potential of the Olympics, so it could’ve been a massive year.
“But the focus has to be moving on from it now. Hopefully I’ll have an operation in the next couple of weeks.”
Smith was a frustrated spectator from the dugout as Belles produced a hard-working and organised display in their opening Group One game - but just could not find a way through the Bristol defence.
O’Gorman forced a good save out of Academy goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain from long range before the break, while Jess Ashlock struck the bar for the visitors.
Belles looked dangerous on the counter attack after the interval and rattled the post through livewire O’Gorman after good work from Jess Sigsworth.
But Bristol snatched victory with a moment of quality from substitute Watts in the 75th minute when her rasping effort left Mary Earps with no chance.